Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 21, 2023

Ukraine - Russian Army Activates Southern Front

The long expected Russian offensive in Ukraine has begun.

The Ukrainian army, egged on by its U.S. controllers, had put most of its resource into the static defense of the Bakhmut (Artyomovsk) - Soledar sector of the eastern front. An insane number of Ukrainian brigades, though many partially depleted, were concentrated on that 50 kilometer long front. This left other sectors nearly empty of Ukrainian troops.


Source: Military Land Deployment Map - bigger
I count the equivalent of some 27 brigade size formations in that area. The usual size of a brigade is some 3,000 to 4,000 men with hundreds of all kinds of vehicles. If all brigades had their full strength that force would count as 97,500 men. In a recent interview the Ukrainian military commander Zaluzhny said that his army has 200,000 men trained to fight with 500,000 more having other functions or currently being trained. The forces which are currently getting mauled in the Bakhmut area constitute 50% of Ukraine's battle ready forces.

On the southern and northern sectors of the battle-line the Ukrainian forces have been thinned out and are only able to defend against minor forces.

The Ukrainian forces in the north and south are in the same position Russian troops had been in when the Ukrainian army last year launched a blitz attack in the Kharkiv region. The Russian screening force of some 2,000 boarder guards and federal police retreated and used its artillery to destroy the oncoming Ukrainian forces. The attack ran out of power and came to a halt after progressing some 70 kilometers on a rather large front. But Ukraine no longer has, unlike the Russians at that time, the artillery that is need to stop a larger thrust.

The big Ukrainian concentration in Bakhmut is now in an operational encirclement. The Russian forces have progressed north and south of the city and their artillery can easily control the western exit roads of Bakhmut. This a Verdun like situation. Russian artillery is by far numerical superior and can slaughter the Ukrainian troops at will. Even the U.S. military is now suggesting that Ukraine should give up on that city. Should the government in Kiev agree to that it will be a retreat under fire with likely high casualties. Not retreating though will make things even worse.


Source: Live UA Map - bigger

The Ukrainian concentration on Bakhmut put its other frontlines into jeopardy. I and others have suggested for quite some time that the Russian forces will use the southern Zaporizhia region for a large thrust into the far back of the Ukrainian forces around Bakhmut.

The Russian moves against the third and fourth Ukrainian defense lines will likely be supported by a move from the south that will liberate the rest of the Zaporiziha and Donetsk oblast.

Aside from those operations the Russian command has sufficient number of troops available to run another major attack. This could come from the north into the Kharkiv region behind the Ukrainian troops currently attacking the Russian lines further east.


Source: Live UA Map - bigger

The Military Land Deployment map, sympathetic to the Ukrainian side, shows just three Territorial Defense brigades covering a 100 kilometer long southern defense line. These brigades are infantry rich but not mobile. They have only little heavy equipment. The Ukrainian 65th Mechanized Brigade is the only capable force in the area. It is screening Zaporizhzhia city but has been heavily bleeding it its position for quite a while.

One Motorized Infantry brigade, the 56th, was added to the southern front some six days ago. Back in August this brigade had been severely mauled in its defense of Peski at the eastern front. It has since been reconstituted with new conscripts and a smorgasbord of 'western' delivered equipment. It can not be regarded as a fully capable unit.


bigger

There is no Ukrainian artillery brigade in the sector. There are thereby no counter-artillery capabilities available.

The attacking Russian force is the 58th army of the Russian Federation. These are not lightly armored, air deployable VDV forces like those who fought around the Hostomel Airport airport near Kiev. These are not militia of the Donbas republics seen on the eastern front. These are not Chechen forces storming Mariupol. These are not the Wagner mercenaries surrounding Bakhmut.

This is the real Russian army, the Red one, with all its heavy resources and capabilities to wage combined arms warfare.

The first probing Russian attacks in the area were launched two days ago. The Ukrainian lines immediately broke down and the Russian forces advanced some 5 kilometer on the very first day. Yesterday they advanced further.

Everything in red and yellow north of the closed red line are recent Russian advances.


Source: ISW - bigger

A few weeks ago, in an interview with the Economist, the Ukrainian army commander general Zaluzhny called a Russian attack at this time the "worst" possible situation:

But the main reason Russia has dragooned so many young men, the generals believe, is to go back on the offensive for the first time since its bid to overrun Donbas fizzled out in the summer. “Just as in [the second world war]…somewhere beyond the Urals they are preparing new resources,” says General Zaluzhny, referring to the Soviet decision to move the defence industry east, beyond the range of Nazi bombers. “They are 100% being prepared.” A major Russian attack could come “in February, at best in March and at worst at the end of January”, he says.

Zaluzhny has claimed to be building reserves but he has since send even more troops to Bakhmut:

The temptation is to send in reserves [to Bakhmut]. A wiser strategy is to hold them back.
...
“May the soldiers in the trenches forgive me,” says General Zaluzhny. “It’s more important to focus on the accumulation of resources right now for the more protracted and heavier battles that may begin next year.”

It is unlikely that any reserves he currently has are equipped, trained and battle ready. They will be too small to stop a fully mechanized Russian attack through the rather sparsely settled southwest of Donetzk province.

The aim of the Russian thrust in the south will not be to take cities like Zaporiziha. The aim is to bring the main transport routes, railways and roads, from west-Ukraine to the front in east Ukraine under Russian artillery fire. This will prevent not only the re-supply for the Ukrainian troops on the eastern front but also their exit from the front line. A 100 kilometer (60 miles) thrust to the north would mostly do that. A complementary thrust from the north towards south, which may or may not be coming, would finally close the cauldron.

Posted by b on January 21, 2023 at 9:56 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Now the question is, will we see a similar move from the North?

Posted by: Eol | Jan 21 2023 10:19 utc | 1

The attack ran out of power and came to a halt after progressing some 70 kilometers on a rather large front. But Ukraine no longer has, unlike the Russians at that time, the artillery that is need to stop a larger thrust.

I don't even know what to say, a 70km thrust in a couple of days is just dismissed by b out of hand while he presents the current (unconfirmed, even according to reliable pro-Russian milbloggers) 5km thrust in Zaporizhia as something notable?

The big Ukrainian concentration in Bakhmut is now in an operational encirclement.

"Operational encirclement" seems to be a pro-Russian neologism selectively applied to situations to massage hurt egos. If ones looks at a list of past battles in history designated "encirclement operations", one will not find any "operational encirclement" variant in which the allegedly encircled enemy has full access to logistics routes in and out of the battle zone.

But somehow, because Russians can shell these roads (just as Ukrainians can shell the roads in and out of Donetsk city at will), this is portrayed as some sort of coup!

A complementary thrust from the north towards south, which may or may not be coming, would finally close the cauldron.

Obviously too early to tell right now, but I'm guessing this will be another "cauldron/boiler/kotel" that never was.

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 21 2023 10:21 utc | 2

I forgot to mention in my above comment

This is the real Russian army, the Red one, with all its heavy resources and capabilities to wage combined arms warfare.

I can't wait for this "real Russian army" to transform into just another "lightly trained force of border guards" when this attack inevitably fizzles out, not to mention how this untrained force will have inflicted massive casualties on the Ukrainians in their negligible advance.

I could he wrong, but past experience suggests I probably won't be.

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 21 2023 10:23 utc | 3

Regular bar patrons, for heaven’s sake, please ignore the drunk in seats 2 and 3. If you try to help but get puked on, I’ll start avoiding you too.

Posted by: hacket 102 | Jan 21 2023 10:29 utc | 4

Operation Uranus II.
Then the Ukrainians will be resupplied by NATO after which they'll go on the offensive again. And then we'll get Kursk II.
They say history doesn't repeat itself but that it rhymes. It certainly seems so. What a tragedy!

Posted by: Michael | Jan 21 2023 10:40 utc | 5

Operation Uranus II.
Then the Ukrainians will be resupplied by NATO after which they'll go on the offensive again. And then we'll get Kursk II.
They say history doesn't repeat itself but that it rhymes. It certainly seems so. What a tragedy!

Posted by: Michael | Jan 21 2023 10:40 utc | 6

The difference is that Russia preserved and added to their own combined arms forces and reorganized them from original, somewhat unsuited BTG formations to actual combined arms formations.
Ukraine, meanwhile, has already wrecked their tank and artillery forces with sporadic and unorganized attacks during Autumn 2022, up to mid-October. They are even losing when staying static. This thing Nato is trying to do is basically what Zaluzhny asked for, a "third army".

Zaluzhny told the worst possible scenario that could happen and the Russians prepared themselves to a position where they could oblige.

Posted by: unimperator | Jan 21 2023 10:49 utc | 7

@ Michael | Jan 21 2023 10:40 utc | 6

US/NATO will resupply encircled Ukrainians & AFU will go on the offensive again ? By what, 'Big Bird' drones ? GTFOH.

Jeebus Wept, 5 out of first 7 posts NAFO Fella nutjobs. Sigh.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 21 2023 10:49 utc | 8

Hmm, my idea was an opportunistic thrust west to the border, cutting Kiev and Lvov off completely from the sea as well as shutting down some major NATO supply-routes.

We'll see. Putin, Shoigu and Gerasimov are deliberate, to say the least.


Fighting from the map again!

Posted by: John Kennard | Jan 21 2023 10:49 utc | 9

"Operational encirclement" seems to be a pro-Russian neologism selectively applied to situations to massage hurt egos. If ones looks at a list of past battles in history designated "encirclement operations", one will not find any "operational encirclement" variant in which the allegedly encircled enemy has full access to logistics routes in and out of the battle zone.

Operational encirclement is a term of art in Russian/Soviet doctrine.

Completely closing an encirclement leaves two choices for the enemy. Fight to death or give up. Many groups, like ISIS, will use the first choice.

Operational encirclement leaves one road out for the encircled force but puts that route under (artillery) fire. This gives the encircled force the choice of giving up or leave (under fire). It is likely that the later option will be chosen. If it stays to fight on the total closing of the encirclement is still an option.

Weeb as nice video about that. Russian Tactics Explained | Operational Encirclement | Flower Maneuver

The term has also sneaked into U.S. military literature. For example: Operational Encirclement: Quick Decisive Victory or A Bridge Too Far?


Posted by: b | Jan 21 2023 11:09 utc | 10

pro-Russian neologism

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 21 2023 10:21 utc | 2

Don't tell this guy any papers about this "pro-Russian neologism" published by NATO reseachers before 2000.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_sdt=0%2C5&q=%22Operational+encirclement%22&btnG=

Somehow, the facts now have a pro-Russian bias, such as the British and American sabotage of the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

Posted by: Colin | Jan 21 2023 11:11 utc | 11

It appears the Russian screening force behaved as a bullfighter would; guide the charging force into a situation that ultimately benefits the screening force. Except imagine the screening force has a herd of rhinos to unleash on the bull once its momentum fizzles out rather than a sword…

Posted by: Sleazy P. Martini | Jan 21 2023 11:19 utc | 12

I remember when Cassius Clay fought Sonny Liston in 1964 and 1965 although I was quite young. Cassius, who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, won the fights by yielding ground to the older Liston. I cannot recall the announcers saying Cassius lost the fight when he gave up a corner and moved around the slower man to take a new position in the ring. He later refined his technique to the famous Rope-A-Dope style. That is where you allow an opponent to exhaust himself pounding your elbows while you rest against the ropes. Western media and some here have announced victory with every withdrawal by the RA and Donbas militia without considering whether any 'points' were actually scored. Putin himself likely sees this as a Judo match where the opponents' force is used to move him into an unfavorable position. I cannot say that the comedian leader of the illegal government in Kiev has his troops in a good place. Perhaps the next year will find him touring the Catskill resorts with his high heels and piano.

Posted by: Martin Oline | Jan 21 2023 11:21 utc | 13

have inflicted massive casualties on the Ukrainians in their negligible advance.

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 21 2023 10:23 utc | 3

Have you heard of the Battle of Verdun?

Of course, considering that NATOistan cannot understand why sending weapons to Nazi military units in Ukraine is not "let the Nazis die" and "for peace", and cannot admit that the US sabotage of negotiations means that "only Russia can end the war" is not true, it is only natural that they are so ignorant or pretend to be ignorant.

Posted by: Colin | Jan 21 2023 11:23 utc | 14

comedian leader of the illegal government in Kiev

Posted by: Martin Oline | Jan 21 2023 11:21 utc | 14

I don't even think he's any kind of leader. I think what is really leading Ukraine is NATO and NATO's inside man in Ukraine.

Posted by: Colin | Jan 21 2023 11:26 utc | 15

This is going to start getting tough for Russia to keep up. With Iran getting a new satellite and new jets and Russia hoisting air defense onto roof tops they seem to expect something huge going down soon.

Posted by: OohCanada | Jan 21 2023 11:38 utc | 16

let the fun begin!

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/why-top-u-s-officials-don-t-want-to-give-ukraine-tanks/ar-AA16A2Jd?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=3147ee81785b47c3a8a9cb7dcf6c6d5d

pentagon says: 'use all those [russian] tanks you captured'. as if ukers have mechanics and tools to spare removing parts from one tank to get another going.

also in article: abrams is too expensive, too much fuel and requires too much repairs.....

what is abrams suited for??

i apologize for linking atlanticist blither!

Posted by: paddy | Jan 21 2023 11:56 utc | 17

Although things seem to get going in the right direction recently, I am still quite sceptical of any premature cheer. We have had plenty of examples from the past, here and elsewhere, of that.

Ukraine is a very tough nut to crack.

Posted by: alek_a | Jan 21 2023 11:59 utc | 18

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 21 2023 10:23 utc | 3


I can't wait for this "real Russian army" to transform into just another "lightly trained force of border guards"

It's either a heavy force - easy to establish based on open source intelligence.
Or it's a light force - easy to establish in the same way.

The fact that you can't establish this basic fact - or don't want to - means you're just spinning conjectures.


I could he wrong, but past experience suggests I probably won't be.

You sound like all the borderline autistic dunning-kruger poster boys on this site,who thought they were right who ended up wrong on anything that actually mattered.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 21 2023 12:04 utc | 19

Posted by: paddy | Jan 21 2023 11:56 utc | 18

also in article: abrams is too expensive, too much fuel and requires too much repairs.....

Mainstream media finally catches up with MoA.

Just like that they spin new lies ignoring all contradictions.


Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 21 2023 12:06 utc | 20

Posted by: alek_a | Jan 21 2023 11:59 utc | 19

Ukraine is a very tough nut to crack.

As tough as Afghanistan?

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 21 2023 12:07 utc | 21

"This is the real Russian army, the Red one, with all its heavy resources and capabilities to wage combined arms warfare."

This video gives a sense of the fire power now being unleashed.
https://t.me/s/voenkor_evtushenko/3388

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 21 2023 12:10 utc | 22

Pray the Ukie cannon fodder can escape their officers to surrender and live.

Posted by: Exile | Jan 21 2023 12:20 utc | 23

@Martin Oline #14

Clay vs Liston fight here [45 mins]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4IKMX-5JLk

Posted by: Don Firineach | Jan 21 2023 12:20 utc | 24

Polish military opposes sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine

A video circulated on the Polish social networks said that the tanks were going to be handed over to Kiev together with Polish crews. In this way Poland would become an official party to the conflict in Ukraine.

✖️ The Poles said they would not fight on the side of the Kiev regime - 14 crews resigned in protest at once. Thus, the Polish authorities' attempt to please Ukraine turned into a real revolt.

---

Nato attempting to send Polish Leopard 2 tanks, manned by Polish tank crews to fight for Kiev. As a result, some of the crew have resigned. I'm sure they will find willing crews, but this is an example that Polish army is already there replacing UAF.

https://t.me/druschbaFm_en/11686

Posted by: unimperator | Jan 21 2023 12:27 utc | 25

70km thrust in a couple of days is just dismissed
...
selectively applied to situations to massage hurt egos.

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 21 2023 10:21 utc | 2

Those 70km are a good massage for hurt egos, aren't they?

Posted by: Vikichka | Jan 21 2023 12:41 utc | 26

Translated:

Summary of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the progress of a special military operation on the territory of Ukraine (21.01.2023)

◽️ In the Kupyansk direction, aviation and artillery of the Western Military District hit units of the 103rd Territorial Defense Brigade near the village of Berestovoye, Kharkiv region.

💥 More than 35 Ukrainian servicemen, an armored fighting vehicle and two vehicles were destroyed. In addition, a warehouse of artillery ammunition of the AFU was destroyed near the settlement Olshana, Kharkiv region.

◽️ In the Krasno-Limansky direction, artillery fire from the Central Military District hit units of the 111th Territorial Defense Brigade near the settlements of Torskoye and Terny in the Donetsk People's Republic.

💥 Over 20 Ukrainian servicemen, an infantry fighting vehicle, a D-20 howitzer, and a US-made AN/TPQ-37 counter-battery radar were destroyed.

◽️ In the Donetsk direction, volunteer assault squads, with fire support from operational and army aviation, missile troops and artillery of the Southern Military District, liberated the Dvurechye settlement of the Donetsk People's Republic.

💥 AFU losses totaled up to 50 servicemen killed and wounded, two armored combat vehicles, three pickup trucks, and two D-20 and D-30 howitzers.

💥 In addition, a warehouse of AFU artillery ammunition was destroyed near the village of Vodyanoye in the Donetsk People's Republic, and an AN/TPQ-37 US-made counter-battery radar station was destroyed near the village of Malinovka.

◽️На Zaporizhzhya direction as a result of offensive actions units of the Eastern Military District have taken more advantageous lines and positions.

💥 More than 30 fighters, two armored fighting vehicles, two pickup trucks, an Acacia self-propelled howitzer, and a D-20 howitzer were destroyed during the day.

💥 Operational-tactical aviation, missile troops and artillery of groups of troops (forces) of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation hit the command post of the 36th separate rifle battalion of territorial defense near Kotlyarovka settlement of the Donetsk People's Republic, as well as 67 artillery units at firing positions, manpower and military equipment in 95 areas.

💥 Fighter aircraft of the Russian Air Force shot down an Su-24 aircraft of the air forces of Ukraine in the area of Vladimirovka settlement of the Donetsk People's Republic.

💥 The air defense forces near Lozovaya settlement, Kharkiv region, shot down a Mi-8 helicopter of the air force of Ukraine.

💥 Fourteen Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were also destroyed during the day near the settlements of Kovalevka, Kremenna, Naugolne, Novovodynoye, Ploshchanka, Nezhurino, Zmievka, Chervonopopovka in the Lugansk People's Republic, as well as Novokazankovatoje in the Zaporozhye region and Blagodatne in the Donetsk People's Republic.

💥 In addition, three HIMARS and Uragan MBRLS rockets were intercepted, as well as a HARM anti-radar missile in the areas of Vasilievka and Grozovoye, Zaporizhia region.

📊 In total, since the beginning of the special military operation destroyed ((+?) over preceding 24hrs):
375(+1) aircraft,
203(+1) helicopters,
2922(+14) unmanned aerial vehicles,
401 anti-aircraft missile systems,
7589(+6) tanks and other armored combat vehicles,
985 multiple rocket launcher combat vehicles,
3883(+5) field artillery guns and mortars, and
8128(+7) special military vehicles.

Comment:

Third day in a row no MBRLS destroyed. Yet another Artillery ammo dump destroyed. Minimal Artillery & AFVs destroyed, same for misc Vehicles.

If the current Main Effort is in the South, with nominally only ~5 AFU Brigades, comprising 3 x Territorial Brigades (Conscript Infantry) & 2 x under-strength Mechanized Brigades(-) & no designated additional Artillery units in support ... therefore literally diminished actual arms materiel available for, targeted 'destruction'.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 21 2023 12:45 utc | 27

The UK media for the last 24 hours has been loaded with the choreography of U$A's not-very-subtle bullying and blackmail of Germany to release its Leopard battle tanks to support UKR.
Fortunately, Germany has already recognised that UKR is a doomed venture and does not want to dirty its hands shovelling NATO's manure.

Posted by: Engineer-John | Jan 21 2023 12:49 utc | 28

What to make of new German Defense Minister at odds with U.S./NATO over sending German tanks to Ukraine? How long can that position last? Will Germany fold to pressure? How important is it to supply these tanks to Ukraine? What change can they make on the battlefield (if they ever make it that far)? Is Germany now and forever prepared to sever completely and unequivocally all ties with RF? The two countries share the same continent. It will be suicidal for Germany to allow German tanks to be used to attack Russian forces. Nothing good (especially for Germany) will come of that strategic blunder.

Posted by: thecelticwithinme | Jan 21 2023 12:56 utc | 29

German chancellor if he's smart.could say ok let's see the brit and US tanks last 2 weeks on the front line then we will consider sending ours.
Put some skin in the game. Germany knows how a direct confrontation with Russia ends up.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jan 21 2023 12:59 utc | 30

Great read and links , took care of my Saturday morning hangover!

An attack south to the Sea by natzos was the only move that made sense. It may have caused much pressure to Russias hold on the water resources and land bridge to Crimea.
With a naval assault by the Brits and Yanks … well that is now receding into an alternate universe. Even there the move would have been expected and the counter punch to cut it off with the biggest sharpest arrow would have brought the surrender of the natzos.
Which is probably why the western canon fodder have not gone ‘full Tonto’ intending instead to force Russia to make the move north first to then unleash their sharp counter attack! Let’s see if it appears, as Russian forces are sucked into over extending their supply lines supposedly (I can’t believe they would be so naive)

It does appear to be the last big move in the SMO. If this does not settle it , it becomes a War in Europe. Which is what some elite shits have always profited from!

Posted by: DunGroanin | Jan 21 2023 13:28 utc | 31

✖️ The Poles said they would not fight on the side of the Kiev regime - 14 crews resigned in protest at once. Thus, the Polish authorities' attempt to please Ukraine turned into a real revolt.

The Polish officials are corrupt. The people are not with this. The govt will fill in with lackeys but the real Poland will not go to war for the usurpers.

Posted by: osi | Jan 21 2023 13:52 utc | 32

Great write up today over at thedreizinreport
Details you may not know you drunkun idiots.

Posted by: dounuts | Jan 21 2023 10:41 utc

Oh that guy, Mecurious never brought MacGregor on. Dreizin loves to call everyone else a BS artist. I seem to remember him saying that Russia might have to use tactical nukes after the AFU summer offensive. There's a reason no one wants him on and it's the insane chip on his shoulder.

Posted by: Ann | Jan 21 2023 14:10 utc | 33

Ugh... stop with the stupid sports analogies, dopes comparing the simplistic use of rope to the multi-faceted complexities of an asymmetric proxy war makes you dumber, not smarter.

As for Ali, the wisest thing he ever said about war is here (not the popular paraphrased version):

https://youtu.be/vd9aIamXjQI

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Jan 21 2023 14:11 utc | 34

The Polish officials are corrupt. The people are not with this. The govt will fill in with lackeys but the real Poland will not go to war for the usurpers.

Posted by: osi | Jan 21 2023 13:52 utc | 32

The same thing was said about "the real Ukranians" about a year ago. You'd be surprised...

Posted by: Poslan1 | Jan 21 2023 14:12 utc | 35

If this is really offensive start, and if it is followed by northern thrust, Russian army will *not* leave escape corridor like they did for Isis in Syria. No, it would be contra productive to let ukies retreat to Kiev and other big cities to make defense with civilian casualties, or even worse, nucleus of some insurrection in west ukieland some day.

I sense Russia will surround and completely annihilate them, in line with de-nazification objective.

Posted by: Abe | Jan 21 2023 14:16 utc | 36

To add: it is possible Russia's hand is forced by something we don't know yet, like western plans in near future. Maybe Russia is moving timetables to eliminate enemy in Donbass as soon as possible in preparation for NATO attack.

Posted by: Abe | Jan 21 2023 14:18 utc | 37

TL&DR Background & explanatory re RF 58th Army ... AFU is on the ropes ...

Russian Minister of Defense General of the Army Sergey Shoigu awarded the Order of Suvorov to the 58th Combined Arms Army of the Southern Military District on or about 29 May 2020.

The decree on rewarding the association for services to strengthen the country's defense, high performance in combat training, heroism, courage and selflessness shown by the personnel during the performance of combat missions, was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Awarding the order established in honor of Generalissimo Alexander Vasilievich Suvorov is a high assessment of the work of the command, military personnel and civilian personnel of the 58th combined arms army of the Southern Military District," said the head of the Ministry of Defense, presenting the award at the National Defense Management Center of the Russian Federation.

According to Shoigu, "throughout the long history of the glorified association, its personnel has been a model of service to the Fatherland, demonstrating loyalty to the best traditions of the Russian army." The Minister emphasized that the awarding of the Order of Suvorov obliges a lot. “I’m sure that you will worthily follow his science to win, like the legendary commander, honestly perform military duty, make a significant contribution to strengthening the defense capabilities of the Fatherland,” concluded Shoigu.

The 58th (Combined Arms) Army has it's duty station as the Southern Military District(SMD). It was deployed & saw action in the Caucasus during the Russian-Georgian War '08. The first RF standing Army to be re-organized/upgraded/reformed as a result of the RF 2008 Military Reforms, starting 2010.

'Elements' of the 58th Army were identified in combat with AFU in Kherson Oblast throughout mid 22 onwards. The 58th is normally deployed in the SMD operating with & base hosting RF Strategic Paratrooper units (VDV) attached from higher HQ.

Most recent Order of Battle found is notionally:

19th Motor Rifle Division (Motor Rifle = Mechanized)
42nd Guards Motor Rifle Division (Elite)
136th Guards Motor Rifle Division (Elite) (Upgraded from a Brigade in 2020-2021)

* In actual offensive Ops, highly probably reinforced with an attached Tank Brigade.
(Possibly to Division strength, depending on the assigned mission tasking & probable follow-on Ops)

12th Rocket Brigade (Possibly temporarily reinforced)
67th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Brigade
291st Artillery Brigade (Probably temporarily reinforced)
100th Reconnaissance Brigade
4th Guards Military Base
34th Headquarters Brigade
40th NBC Protection Regiment
31st Engineer Sapper Regiment (Probably temporarily reinforced)
78th Logistic Support Brigade (Possibly temporarily reinforced)
14th Electronic Warfare Battalion

Approximate total manpower if complete standing 58th Combined Arms Army in garrison is ~30k+, excluding normally 'attached' VDV units. If reinforced with Tank Brigade to Division &/or 'additional' listed arms reinforced in support, then ~33K-40k+ manpower, excluding normally 'attached' VDV units.

Unlikely the Entire 58th Army would be re-deployed in total from SMD, replaced by a formation unfamiliar with operating in based region, ie an entirely new raised/re-deployed substitute Army formation. Possibly reinforced over 2+ months (ie doubled in manpower/material, sub-Units size, from mobilized active reserve units raised, merged, then 'split', to fulfill both Op taskings to retain functional unity/cohesion of sub-unit commands & effective primary responsibility (SMD). Alternately 1/3 of all sub-units merged with newly mobilized active reservists for SMD garrison duty, 2/3 merged with newly mobilized, then run-up for current Ops in Southern Ukraine.

If entire 58th Combined Arms Army is fully committed, facing nominally only ~5 AFU Brigades, comprising 3 x Territorial Brigades (Conscript Infantry) & 2 x under-strength Mechanized Brigades(-) & no designated additional Artillery units in support, then once the extant AFU entrenchments are overcome/breached, then the manpower ratio of ~3:1 combined with it's overwhelming comparative actual combined combat power & massed maneuver capability spells doom for the AFU units if not promptly reinforced beforehand. 58th could choose to rapidly grind down AFU entrenched units using overwhelming ranged Fire Support, prior to overrunning.

As b points out, does the AFU even have, available capable maneuver Tank/Mech Brigades(Plural), and if so is it even capable of rapidly redeploying them in time to reinforce & without further weakening the Line of Contact elsewhere ?

AFU ability to respond, if/when RF presses forward with another additional uncommitted Combined Arms Army elsewhere (NE>SW) ?

The RF has as yet uncommitted mobilized manpower for two(possibly three) additional Combined Arms Armies it can readily deploy, excluding current formations in contact along the FEBA & unengaged standing regular(~85%) formations (Active alert/Garrison duty) ...

Then there is the increasingly active RuAF re AFU units redeploying on the March, without effective Air Defense ...

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 21 2023 14:25 utc | 38

"What to make of new German Defense Minister at odds with U.S./NATO over sending German tanks to Ukraine? How long can that position last? Will Germany fold to pressure?.." thecelticwithinme@29

Politically, for NATO, nothing could be worse than for Germany to fold under US bullying. It would make the humiliating nature of NATO so clear that even the electorate would understand that they and their nations' interests are being sacrificed, casually, but Washington neo-cons who regard Europeans as cannon fodder.

And then there is the reality that tanks mean tank crews, and maintenance crews, and so on: direct involvement, at a level it ids impossible any longer to deny, of personnel means giant steps closer towards real war.
And in a real war Europeans face real risks.
b's reference to the Red Army reminded me of Woody Guthrie's "Talking Merchant Marine"

"In bed with my woman, just singin' the blues,
Heard the radio tellin' the news:
That the big Red Army took a hundred towns,
And Allies droppin' them two-ton bombs...."

We're getting very close to the "two ton bomb" phase.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 21 2023 14:32 utc | 39

"..by Washington neo-cons who regard Europeans as cannon fodder..."

Posted by: bevin | Jan 21 2023 14:33 utc | 40

Don´t over analyze this war. There is no way Russia losses, unless we and the whole World losses.

Posted by: Viktor K | Jan 21 2023 14:36 utc | 41

Interesting.

As Major Tanya D. says to her 203rd battalion troops "Operation Lock Pick" has begun. !

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | Jan 21 2023 14:38 utc | 42

unless we and the whole World losses.

Posted by: Viktor K | Jan 21 2023 14:36 utc | 41

The whole world have lost since 1968.

Posted by: Colin | Jan 21 2023 14:47 utc | 43

Posted by: bevin | Jan 21 2023 14:32 utc | 39

Would surprise me if Germany did something so stupid. Surprise me, but that does not exclude the possibility. However Germany has fought in USSR and was bloodied in a way many German families still recall. People in former GDR remember Soviet garrisons and not in a negative way as people in USA might imagine.

A large component of German Bundeswehr is Russlanddeutsche - they are some of most effective soldiers in key units.

German Army is very very angry at lack off equipment and chronic underfunding of basics for decades.

After 3 female Defence Ministers the military is totally disaffected.

German military has zero desire to tangle with Russians - and German military tends to vote AfD

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Jan 21 2023 14:49 utc | 44

Russian forces simply aren't numerous enough to create and maintain a large scale cauldron. Speculation about Donbas-sized encirclements seems silly. Even assuming the Russians could penetrate deeply enough, fast enough, to create the encirclement, as long as the Ukrainian army exists as a sizeable coherent fighting force, the encircling forces will get mauled because they'll be too sparse.

A couple of smaller, town sized encirclements (actual, not "operational") would be an achievement for the Russians.

Posted by: Mike314159 | Jan 21 2023 14:51 utc | 45

Interesting thoughts. As always we should remember that, with the western press so totally dishonest, but with propaganda being used by both sides, none of us really know what is going on. Maybe the Russians really have forced the Ukrainians into a meat grinder losing war of attrition - and maybe Russia is bleeding out doing stupid head-on attacks into prepared defenses. Maybe both. We have certainly heard predictions of Russia encircling Ukrainian troops before, and that hasn't happened. But maybe this time.

I also do point out the incredible advantage that western surveillance systems give the Ukrainians. Satellites with visual, infrared, hyper spectral imaging, high-resolution radar (that can use difference mode to find new tire tracks in dirt, even under cover!), all integrated with one-the ground sensors and reports and highly refined computer analysis techniques. Sure the Russians have these as well, just not I think at the same level. I mean, in the North, the Ukrainians knew exactly where the Russians were and were not, and the Russians had no clue where the Ukrainians were, yes?

So here's one amateurish thought: if the "real" Russian army really does make a big breakthrough assault, the Ukrainians will know where every unit, every commanding officer, every ammo dump etc. is. They can just hunker back and use their remaining artillery and missile systems to precisely take these out one at a time from both extended flanks. The Ukrainian troops don't need much training for this: just pick up the satellite phone, enter the coordinates into their systems, and fire. Even a numerically weaker Ukrainian artillery force can dish out a lot of pain, if they always know exactly where to hit. Not saying that Russia won't win, or that Russia doesn't have its own strengths and adaptations, but the Ukrainians have been tough and wily opponents and they have their own views about what's going on.

Posted by: TG | Jan 21 2023 15:05 utc | 46

Operation Uranus II.
Then the Ukrainians will be resupplied by NATO after which they'll go on the offensive again. And then we'll get Kursk II.
They say history doesn't repeat itself but that it rhymes. It certainly seems so. What a tragedy!

Posted by: Michael | Jan 21 2023 10:40 utc | 6

Honest question.
What have Nato left to rapidly supply the Ukrainians with?

Posted by: jpc | Jan 21 2023 15:06 utc | 47

The issue with operational encirclement is concentration of fire. The guys on the outside can concentrate their fire on the guys on the inside, who consequently suffer a higher, perhaps much higher, rate of attrition.

It is not a matter of keeping somebody "trapped". Modern industrial war is all about attrition, who runs out of stuff to fight with first. You can see that happening in Ukraine. The USA war party does not think that way, and it is a great weakness of theirs.

As I said, it is more like Go than Chess. Or like ants if you like. Very well armed ants.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 21 2023 15:06 utc | 48

bevin | Jan 21 2023 14:32 utc | 39
Let us hope that Scholz, for one single time, follows his own judgement.

Posted by: grunzt | Jan 21 2023 15:07 utc | 49

German Army is very very angry at lack off equipment and chronic underfunding of basics for decades.

After 3 female Defence Ministers the military is totally disaffected.

German military has zero desire to tangle with Russians - and German military tends to vote AfD

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Jan 21 2023 14:49 utc | 44


You have spoken a truth that the strutting little mediocrity Van der Leyen ignores.
Then again she was instrumental in the degradation of the Bundeschwere.

Posted by: jpc | Jan 21 2023 15:10 utc | 50

Posted by: Michael | Jan 21 2023 10:40 utc | 6

Always chuckle when operation Uranus is mentioned: as surrounding enemy and attacking it from behind.

But in this case, it seems like ukies love those sorts of things. I think new operational name is in order.

Posted by: Abe | Jan 21 2023 15:10 utc | 51

Talk of grand offensive is entirely speculative as usual. Armchair general yours truly says: gains of operational significance before return of mud season (6 weeks?) are not realistic. Unless UA forces are truly exhausted, but that would be for now still a hopeful wish.

On the other hand, something like 60% reduction of the UA salient around Seversk, would have immediate benefit. It would make the place again too weak to support a spring forest-infiltration attack against the southern flank of the Lugansk line, and make the attritional gameplan (elastic-defense) of the Lugansk line a lot less uncomfortable than it currently is.

So armchair general yours truly says, the Zaporozhe area is merely applying pressure, albeit on a non-trivial scale. To force UA to remove a few brigades from the East to defend the area being discussed. Any gains are opportunistic - but still valuable of course.

Posted by: pxx | Jan 21 2023 15:14 utc | 52

@ Mike314159, #45

Interesting handle there "Mike". Where did you show up from, got weekend duty for your Psych Ops unit...?

Posted by: DakotaRog | Jan 21 2023 15:21 utc | 53

Satellites with visual, infrared, hyper spectral imaging, high-resolution radar (that can use difference mode to find new tire tracks in dirt, even under cover!), all integrated with one-the ground sensors and reports and highly refined computer analysis techniques.

Posted by: TG | Jan 21 2023 15:05 utc | 46

I think that perhaps your conception of the capabilities of spy satellites is a little bit science fiction. One wonders why the Americans didn't use these supernal abilities to instantly identify and target anything that moves from a few hundred kilometres up to, for example, crush the Taliban in Afghanistan, lend them to the Israelis to comprehensively defeat Hezbollah in Lebanon, head off the ISIS caliphate before it got such an enormous foothold in northern Iraq and Syria, etc. etc.

Posted by: OnceWere | Jan 21 2023 15:30 utc | 54

Big Serge: useful oveview

https://bigserge.substack.com/p/russo-ukrainian-war-the-world-blood

'... We should also note, of course, that these western tanks are not likely to be game changers on the battlefield. The Leopard already showed its limitations in Syria under Turkish operation. Note the following quote from this 2018 article:

“Given that the tanks are widely operated by NATO members - including Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece and Norway - it is particularly embarrassing to see them so easily destroyed by Syrian terrorists when they are expected to match the Russian Army.”

Ultimately, the Leopard is a fairly mundane MBT designed in the 1970’s outclassed by the Russian T-90. It’s not a terrible piece of equipment, but it’s hardly a battlefield terror. They will take losses and be attrited just like Ukraine’s prewar tank park was. However, that doesn’t change the fact that a Ukrainian army with a few companies of leopards will be more potent than one without them.'

Posted by: Don Firineach | Jan 21 2023 15:38 utc | 55

Some comments responding to previous ones:
1) Tito's Partisans broke out of numerous Nazi encirclements during WW@.

2) Muhammed Ali's historical namesake, Cassius Clay, was a kick-ass white abolitionist from Kentucky.

3) I envision the Russian operation in Ukraine as a wood-chipper that is almost done with it's (tragic) Ukraine input, and at-the-ready for any inputs from Poland/Romania/etc.

Posted by: Adam Frank | Jan 21 2023 15:38 utc | 56

re: op
I think this is jumping the gun a little in terms of any big offensive happening in this area of Zap, it looks far like just ripe opportunity taking with limited focus of take what's up for grabs - for now anyway. That's thus far what RuMod has hinted at with just saying forces have "moved to improved several positions in the area" - or words to that effect. It would be good for them if they could make some significant well supported push toward the n15 be it on the river'ish side or say north of vilnepole but we're not seeing it, yet, imho, and nothing about the current state of things suggests to me there is enough to support some mad dash of 100km or even a quick 30km type push for that matter. At best imho maybe it's an attempt to start interdicting the t0803 and t0814 more or to cut them directly, both useful and baby steps toward n15 eventually. We'll see for now just looks like gradual step forward in the grind because a few opportunities presented itself, notable..sure, start of something much larger maybe, but atm IDTS. /my useless 2cents.

Posted by: knighthawk | Jan 21 2023 15:40 utc | 57

Oh dear, Sgt Scholtz's cold feet about supplying Zelensky with Leopards are starting to get on my nerves. Like Timothy Garton Ash in today's Graun, I was really looking forward to the sight of German tanks racing across the Ukrainian plains towards Moscow, just like in 1941. And with lots of brave Azov lads in tow playing Einsatzgruppen 2.0, rounding up as many of those horrible Russian-speaking civilian traitors as they can find and shooting them by the thousand. What fun and what memories that would bring back! It would take nostalgia to a whole new level!

Posted by: B. Wildered | Jan 21 2023 15:42 utc | 58

Posted by: Mike314159 | Jan 21 2023 14:51 utc | 45

Watching some newsreel with Churchill listing Eisenhower as troops crossed Rhine - Churchill urging Ike to go for Berlin, but Ike preferring to destroy Germany army wherever he could find it instead. Seems akin to Russian tactic in Ukraine today.


Tito's Partisans broke out of numerous Nazi encirclements during WW@.
Posted by: Adam Frank | Jan 21 2023 15:38 utc | 56

Yet von Paulus could not/did not break out of encirclement at Stalingrad despite having 250,000 men.....

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Jan 21 2023 15:46 utc | 59

Mike314159

The recent promise of armour to Ukraine might reflect a deep-seated NATO worry that, having burned through hundreds of ex-Warpac systems, in operationally dubious offensives and last-ditch stands, they have nothing to counter any armour-heavy moves. Today’s reports of the Pentagon urging a retreat from Bakhmut is a clear indicator that Ukraine’s paymasters fear the next phase of this war. Talk of a Ukrainian offensive taking Crimea is akin to the late ‘45 plans to to encircle the advancing Soviets, but it’s a useful cover story.

I think the delay in deployment is probably a reflection on the difficulties of re-formatting the BTG’s back into regimental and divisional structures during an ongoing conflict. As for Russia’s recent moves in the South, I’m pretty sure they were contingent on NATO’s current, desperation-driven, escalation and it’s release of mostly obsolescent or, at best, equivalent armour and support systems.

Posted by: Milites | Jan 21 2023 15:46 utc | 60

"Completely closing an encirclement leaves two choices for the enemy. Fight to death or give up. Many groups, like ISIS, will use the first choice."
---
Or as in Syria for many years.... green buses to fight them again another day somewhere else, cause my memory tells me at least little the later years ISIS, and other groups, often eventually chose that third choice, to walk out a corridor or take the free ride out of dodge to another hot spot. Different times, different conflict, different dynamics, but thankfully we've not seen much of the 'third' option given in this conflict.

Posted by: knighthawk | Jan 21 2023 15:55 utc | 61

the magnitude of evil perpetrated by the us in ukraine is a vast achievement even over the harm it did to iraq and afghanistan......

let's hope the atlanticists don't stumble into nuclear winter.

Posted by: paddy | Jan 21 2023 15:57 utc | 62

I think it is likely Germany knows (or suspects) who was responsible for the Nord Stream sabotage and is withholding the Leopard tanks for revenge. The astonishing sight of UKA tanks with Nazi army insignia painted on them may also irk them. CNN ran a film clip with those images over and over while some armchair military expert droned on about how we needed to help the freedom-loving Ukrainians. The stupidity of those producers at CNN is amazing.

Posted by: Quid Me Vexare | Jan 21 2023 16:03 utc | 63

So armchair general yours truly says, the Zaporozhe area is merely applying pressure, albeit on a non-trivial scale. To force UA to remove a few brigades from the East to defend the area being discussed. Any gains are opportunistic - but still valuable of course.

Posted by: pxx | Jan 21 2023 15:14 utc | 52
---
My armchair tends to concur.

Posted by: knighthawk | Jan 21 2023 16:03 utc | 64

@Paul Greenwood #59

It makes for a nice story, but has almost no truth to it... the western allies struggled to get over the Rhine, while Russia was driving straight for Berlin. Churchill wanted the west to get into Berlin first, but the western armies had no ability to get beyond the Rhine, as the bridges were destroyed by the retreating German army, and they had the banks of the Rhine lined with defenses in depth to about 20 miles.

On top of that, the western soldiers were in a state of poor morale after being told that the war would be over, and west would be in Berlin by Christmas, for three years in a row.

It wasn't some brilliant strategy on the part of Eisenhower, they just couldn't move past the Rhine due to heavy resistance, until the German high command surrendered to Russia.

Posted by: Oldcutlas | Jan 21 2023 16:11 utc | 65

outraged@8

Ah, the old detective detects a whiff of coordinated coinkydinks. Or is it a case of the hidden hand?

Posted by: aristodemos | Jan 21 2023 16:29 utc | 67

My guess is the russian command fumbles it, tells its enemies its plans and give its generals more medals.

My operating theory is the Russian high command and Putin are compromised and are looking to sell out russia so they will be allowed to steal russias resources and be let back onto their yachts on the French riviera.


I hope I'm wrong because that's just such a satanic thing to do, I'm hoping for a better homage to the God of War.

Posted by: Neofeudalfuture | Jan 21 2023 16:36 utc | 68

exile@23

Majority of Ukie troops in the area are the so-called Territorial Brigades. Meaning, is that these guys have been swept off the streets, bars and even homes of aging along with teenage conscripts, who obviously had no reason to want to volunteer. Even their 56th mechanized, as a supportive unit was muscularly bashed in earlier engagements, losing most of its manpower in the attempt to hold the line.

It's long been obvious to me that the Zap region has been developing into the soft underbelly of the Ukie line. These first attacks by the Red Army were essentially strong probes. Massive advances would depend on literal ground conditions, as to whether or not a solidly frozen base for ops has developed. If that is the case "ride-em cowboy".

Posted by: aristodemos | Jan 21 2023 16:40 utc | 69

Though Germany is a slave state, punishment for its fetish to start and lose World Wars, the refusal to supply tank-fodder to a losing cause, after the United States blew up Nord Stream, screwing Germany six ways to Sunday, makes perfect sense.

The wrong side of history is to ally with the USA.

Posted by: gottlieb | Jan 21 2023 16:47 utc | 70

How history repeats itself. The Ukrainiam Army Commander General Zaluzhny stated what the Soviets did to avoid Nazi bombers. And who are the Russians fighting against today? NAZIs.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Jan 21 2023 16:47 utc | 71

thanks b.. appreciate your insights...

@ Martin Oline | Jan 21 2023 11:21 utc | 13

smart, articulate and funny.. more of this! thanks..

@ Bemildred | Jan 21 2023 15:06 utc | 48

yes... a war of attrition... i don't know if you saw that article posted by someone a few threads ago that i and outraged reposted.. that was a key point of the article as i saw it.. and the west doesn't get it either.. thanks for your comments!

Posted by: james | Jan 21 2023 16:52 utc | 72

🇺🇦 This man's name is Ruslan Kubay received a summons in the city of Drogobych, Lviv region.

The employees of the national police of Ukraine did not believe the man's illness and offered him to go to the military registration and enlistment office.

He was declared fit for service and sent for a medical examination.

The hospital staff also did not believe the disabled person of the first group.

Only after a full medical examination did they make sure that he had no hands (!).

Where he, in their opinion, all this time Ruslan hid his hands is not reported.


https://t.me/intelslava/43585

Photo of Russian Kubay together with the summons

https://twitter.com/MissJacque_line/status/1616835079069904897

Posted by: Down South | Jan 21 2023 16:52 utc | 73

@ Bemildred | Jan 21 2023 15:06 utc | 48

here is the article again in case you or anyone missed it..

Russia/Ukraine is not a sports competition.

Posted by: james | Jan 21 2023 16:56 utc | 74

Observations of the current state of front line

I must say, judging by the combined pictures from all sides, things at this moment look very favorable for Russia. The "Zaporozie offensive" is not offensive in the word's true meaning. It serves as another hot spot opened by the Army to pressure AFU to send desperately needed reserves from one front to another. Ru manages to tie a significant portion of the enemy troops on the border of Belarus, thus removing them from the equation.

Artemovsk is eating at an average of one Ua battalion per day, sometimes even more, which is a critical situation for the opponent. Combined with constant pressure on other places (Svatovo Kremeena line, Avdeevka front, and others), attrition of AFU is around 1000-1500 soldiers per day (combined KIA/WIA/MIA and to a lesser degree POWs. With this operation tempo, in the last few days, AFU lost an entire brigade from its order of battle.

It is noticed that they started combining various elements from shattered remains of previous units in the battle groups, which implies, despite the mobilization,  that they have a severe problem with combat-effective troops.Those battle groups are also no match, nor can they provide serious resistance to the onslaught. They are demoralized, some with a critical lack of weapons and ammo, and serve only as an emergency stopgap solution, namely to slow the Russian army attacks.

No one has illusions about their ultimate fate. The stubborn resistance they were offering at the beginning is not comparable to what is happening now. Russian Army is blasting them in Artemovsk, and that is a situation that is extremely good for us. As long as Ukraine keeps throwing everything that can hold riffle under our artillery, we are at the brink of not so much of a tactical victory but an enormous strategic gain, mainly the "Maginot line" of AFU is not only cracked but in some places overrun.

And when you see that position, they invested so much for its build and defense is falling and focused their entire strategy on its impregnability; you can be sure that the new phase of SMO will start soon.


https://t.me/Slavyangrad/29918

Posted by: Down South | Jan 21 2023 16:58 utc | 75

Paul Greenwood @44

"...German military tends to vote AFD." Most interesting...and telling. If two factors enter into the equation things could become quite interesting in Deutschland: (1 Major industrialists lose any remaining patience with the blended party government, with formerly peace-loving Greens having been replaced by warmongers...and (2. A significant proportion of "Wessie's" come to the understanding already commonplace in the former DDR.

Should those two developments converge, we might witness massive rallies calling for all American occupational forces to leave Germany...followed by reverberating calls for the dissolution of the current regime, along with calls for a totally new and neutral government.

Posted by: aristodemos | Jan 21 2023 17:01 utc | 76

Thanks for the update b

Below is a current Reuters posting title

U.S. officials advise Ukraine to wait on offensive, official says

What can I add?

The shit show continues until it doesn't......

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 21 2023 17:01 utc | 77

A reader asked and raised some critical questions and issues. I will try to address them as much as possible

Reader:
Thank you for your views. Is there reliable data on the attrition inflicted on the AFU and Russian forces? Also, what is the Ukrainian capability of creating new units, training them and using Western equipment? Seems, from last year, that Ukraine uses their worst troops to defend the trenches while they prepare mobile brigades to counterattack. Very ruthless, but effective.  Lastly, is a Russian offensive to cut off supplies from Poland a possibility? Your opinion on this area is welcome

Answer:
Regarding attrition in the ranks of AFU, we already wrote many times. Huge losses sustained at Soledar and now Artemovsk (on one phase - simultaneously) definitely depleted Ua manpower reserves. Total losses for Soledar (since the beginning of the battle in 2022 are around 23.000 men. For Artemovsk, they are near 20.000 now)/However, Ua's ability to mobilize fast and significant number of men (although many in a cruel way) will soon bear fruit, at least on paper.

They can't afford the time to provide adequate training, so more " meat" will be thrown into the fire, with the intention "what they do, they do..." It's unlikely that they will fight evenly with Russian army, but they can count on numbers. Regarding Ru losses, there is certain amount of losses but so far we don't see that those hamper their combat effectiveness. Mind you, Wagner fought two heavy battles (Soledar&Artemovsk) and remains not only combat effective but is on the offensive all the time. In general, Russian losses across the front went down at some point notably, since fortified lines where built (at the same time Ua losses rise attacking those line unsuccessfully ) .

Regarding western weapon, only small numbers of AFU personnel will be trained for their use and we can expect their arrival to the front around beginning of the March or sooner if situation commands it.Regarding potential Ru offensive(es) it depends on several factors. Mostly manpower. If Russia commits more forces (then of those mobilized ) idea of a breakthrough from Belarus towards Polish border is possible but in my opinion unlikely. Yes, plenty to gain with this move but also plenty to lose.

However, I don't exclude faint attack (that attack does not need to have any specific strategic objective beyond engaging Ua troops and tie them in battle, thus increasing their depletion) l.Of course, this is just a hypothesis and can be wrong. Rumors are circling (Rumors!!!) that the main thrust will be towards Kiev from multiple directions. This is also possible. I'm certain that Ru High command is actually creating it's decisions on the cost/benefit analysis, namely to inflict as much damage as possible for the lowest cost.

We also need to keep in mind that ultimate strategic goal is liberation of occupied territories. That can be done either through direct assault (costly option ) or by attacking on several fronts at once leaving Kiev to actually choose what it wants to defend. But it's rather ungrateful and hard to guess in situation such as this.


https://t.me/Slavyangrad/29927

Posted by: Down South | Jan 21 2023 17:02 utc | 78

Residents of Kupyansk await the return of the Russian army

The correspondent of The Economist visited the Kharkov region and talked with people living there.

▪️The publication reports that people are filming the Ukrainian military on camera and tracking the movements of representatives of the administration.

▪️Residents of Kupyansk try to watch Russian channels that the Armed Forces of Ukraine cannot drown out, the journalist says.

The Economist correspondent notes that the majority of the region's residents have always been pro-Russian.

▪️ Of the 214 members of the local city council, 200 people left for Russia with Russian troops before the arrival of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Some maintain relations with local pro-Russian activists and provide news to the population.


https://t.me/Slavyangrad/29984

Posted by: Down South | Jan 21 2023 17:05 utc | 79

Mike ####s @45

But the Ukie army is no longer a coherent fighting force. Of the 27 brigades bottled up in Bakhmut and region, the ones which have been action for some time have been reduced to approximately 30% or original effectives, according to Colonel Douglas Macgregor. Those units which have yet to be just a fraction of their former entities are almost entirely comprised of "Territorial Defense" units, which are made up of teenagers and elders with only a sprinkling of surviving veterans...most of whom are probably experiencing advanced cases of PTSD, due to have experienced continuous artillery and rocket bombardments.

Basically, the Ukie forces resemble nothing so much more than ambulatory scarecrows.

Posted by: aristodemos | Jan 21 2023 17:06 utc | 80

Neofeudalfuture @ 68

... and be let back onto their yachts on the French riviera.

Ah yes, Putin's yacht, ever see a picture of Putin's yacht? Neither have I.

Posted by: LightYearsFromHome | Jan 21 2023 17:20 utc | 81

General Milley, on the fifty-member contact group meeting in Germany
"I think that, over my 43 years in uniform, this is the most unified I've ever seen NATO, and I've dipped in and out of NATO over many, many years." . .here

That's right, NATO is unified in not giving Ukraine the tanks that it demanded. In fact, forty of the fifty contact group meeting attendees didn't offer Ukraine anything.
That's how Milley got to be a general, by sucking up and beating down, and the truth be damned.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 21 2023 17:20 utc | 82

Posted by: Neofeudalfuture | Jan 21 2023 16:36 utc | 68

I hope I'm wrong because that's just such a satanic thing to do

You and Zelensky must be snorting the same grade and line length of cocaine.

Sorry, there's no more erudite response possible for the twaddle you posted.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 21 2023 17:21 utc | 83

@ Bemildred | Jan 21 2023 15:06 utc | 48

here is the article again in case you or anyone missed it..

Russia/Ukraine is not a sports competition.

Posted by: james | Jan 21 2023 16:56 utc | 74

Thank you for your comment. Yes, that is an excellent article.

I would also point to the permanent huge demand for "content" for all the media channels we have now, there is never enough in our new commercial utopias and you cannot swallow all of that babble, and think with it. To think about everything is to think about nothing.

So everybody specializes now, and relies on "experts". It is all technical.

And yes, sports is show business, the show is the thing, and all the things that matter in life are not. You have to keep some balance in all the reality creating. Recognize a few limits.

It is particularly noticeable all the "kill them all and let God sort them out" types here. One of the most positive things I saw in the beginning a year ago was that the Russians were not doing it USA style, and thus not likely to lose, get bogged down in guerilla war, bankrupt themselves, etc.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 21 2023 17:22 utc | 84

I don't think the Russians would be moving so fast without air cover, I think the S300s, Stingers and MANPADs are in short supply and/or the Russians found the work around. There's going to be a lot of despondent girls damned to the name Javelina.

Posted by: LightYearsFromHome | Jan 21 2023 17:26 utc | 85

Posted by: Viktor K | Jan 21 2023 14:36 utc | 41

Don´t over analyze this war. There is no way Russia losses ...

I'm convinced that the consequences of a Russian defeat in this war (whatever that means - I don't know) will be worse for the West than a Russian victory in Ukraine.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 21 2023 17:29 utc | 86

b, its as though we are at a place where all your best strengths are in play. That is, you provide an historical overview which few in the heat of battle can accomplish,just as you were doing for us in the middle eastern conflicts. The maps are there, and the narrative, (the narrative!) is superb:

The attacking Russian force is the 58th army of the Russian Federation. These are not lightly armored, air deployable VDV forces like those who fought around the Hostomel Airport airport near Kiev. These are not militia of the Donbas republics seen on the eastern front. These are not Chechen forces storming Mariupol. These are not the Wagner mercenaries surrounding Bakhmut.

This is the real Russian army, the Red one, with all its heavy resources and capabilities to wage combined arms warfare.

Thank you. If it is to be done, it were well it be done quickly. God bless all.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 21 2023 17:32 utc | 87

This is informing Scholz's tanks decision.
The German newspaper Der Spiegel gave an indication Friday of how deadly one sector of the battlefield is for Ukraine, which is worrying German intelligence officials. "The foreign intelligence service informed security politicians in the Bundestag in a secret meeting this week that the Ukrainian Army is currently losing a three-digit number of soldiers every day in battles with the Russian invaders" in Bakhmut, according to Der Spiegel. . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 21 2023 17:33 utc | 88

Regarding Scholz' 'refusal' to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine:

I believe this stubbornness is Kabuki theater.

The puppet does not pull his master's strings.

The German tanks will be laundered via Poland.

Germany will make great show of owning a spine.

And those German L2's will end up in Ukraine ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 21 2023 17:39 utc | 89

Have the Russians co-opted the growing number of YouTube battlefield commentators into their deception plans? Dima today had ‘a lot of very confusing updates’ as the Russian military sources map, he relies on, showed no 5km advances in the South. Are the Russians moving phantom troops around, or have the Russians stopped all battlefield information during the first vital days of the operation.

Posted by: Milites | Jan 21 2023 17:46 utc | 90

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 21 2023 17:39 utc | 89

Bulgaria is a perfect example of this duplicity.

What they say:

🇧🇬❌🇺🇦🇷🇺Bulgarian President says military aid to Kiev could lead to global conflict

Rumen Radev believes that arms supplies "mean agreement with the position" that the conflict "should be fought until one side is completely defeated"

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said that the ongoing military assistance to Ukraine could lead to a global conflict, and urged not to supply weapons to Kiev.

"The most important value is peace and human life. The supply of weapons [to Kiev] means that we are extinguishing the fire with gasoline, means recognition that there will be much more victims," Radev said in an interview with Darik Radio on Saturday, the press service of the president of the country reports.

The Bulgarian President noted that military assistance to Kiev "means agreement with the position" that the conflict "must be fought until one side is completely defeated," which inevitably and gradually involves the country "in a global conflict and the possibility of nuclear self-destruction."

Radev also stressed that his country "should not send weapons supporting this conflict." "My duty as president is to think and be in solidarity with the majority of Bulgarians," the president said.

"There are not enough weapons today, but if at one moment we do not have enough people, then what will we do?" Radev asked, pointing out that the military conflict is becoming increasingly fierce, expanding its reach, leading to exhaustion and a global economic catastrophe, which is already being felt by European citizens.


https://t.me/azmilitary11/34357

What they do:

Bulgaria secretly supplied Ukraine with ammunition last spring, providing up to a third of the needs of its armed forces — Die Welt

https://t.me/Slavyangrad/29462
🇧🇬🇷🇺🇺🇦 And here is another evidence of the supply of Bulgarian military products to Ukraine: In the photo from Soledar, next to the captured RPGs and the TOW ATGM control unit, there is zinc with 7.62x54 mm caliber cartridges.

There is a characteristic sign on it - the number 10 with two circles. It corresponds to the Arsenal plant in Kazanlak, which is one of the strategic enterprises of the Bulgarian military-industrial complex.

The cartridges were produced in 2020. They got to Ukraine, most likely, by a standard route through the Polish airport "Rzeszow", where only in the first 6 months of last year Bulgarian transport aircraft made at least 60 flights.

For businesses from Bulgaria that previously cashed in by sending weapons to terrorist groups, the fighting in Ukraine has become a real gold mine.

Therefore, no matter what the authorities of the country say about their neutrality in the conflict, they will definitely not stop supplying weapons to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.


https://t.me/Slavyangrad/29478

Posted by: Down South | Jan 21 2023 17:48 utc | 91

juliania | Jan 21 2023 17:32 utc | 87

If it is to be done, it were well it be done quickly

This is Macbethish. I always remember this one from Act lll:

First Murderer: 'Stand to't'

Banquo: 'It will be rain to-night'

First Murderer: 'Let it come down'

Posted by: john | Jan 21 2023 17:53 utc | 92

@89 That would be a way out for Olaf. But there remain several questions. How many tanks?(Not enough for Zelensky for sure.) Who will crew them? What happens when they get destroyed?

Posted by: dh | Jan 21 2023 17:53 utc | 93

Many thanks b for the new Sitrep/analysis of the UKR situ.

+ + + + + +

>@ Mike314159, #45
Interesting handle there "Mike". Where did you show up from, got weekend duty for your Psych Ops unit...? 
Posted by: DakotaRog | Jan 21 2023 15:21 utc | 53

Mike is Drive-by Trolling from Pluto; writing from a script that was teleported.

+ + + + + + +

@Though Germany is a slave state, punishment for its fetish to start and lose World Wars, the refusal to supply tank-fodder to a losing cause, after the United States blew up Nord Stream, screwing Germany six ways to Sunday, makes perfect sense. 
The wrong side of history is to ally with the USA.

Posted by: gottlieb | Jan 21 2023 16:47 utc | 70

You nailed it.

After the US did the terror attack on NordStream 1, 2, and a look back to WW 2, German business Titans have hog tied the gov. “We have lost our investments and businesses.U$D10 billion for (NS2) infrastructure. Dare you go along with the USUK idiots.”

Spite is the main meal best served cold.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 21 2023 18:00 utc | 94

But, bug General Hertling on CNN said that Russian manpower was depleted and they would not be able to go onto an offensive until spring.

As MoA said, Russia's acoustic, counter-battery targeting system works very well. https://asiatimes.com/2023/01/a-drone-cure-for-russias-artillery-killing-penicillin/

This article bad mouth's 'Penicillin' by talling it too big and then boasts that the U.S. can provide the same thing to Ukraine by using helmet mounted detectors on small drones. BTW none of that has actually been tested yet.

The surest indication that Russia has a technological edge is when western 'experts' bad mouth the Russian version and act like the U.S. invented it.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jan 21 2023 18:05 utc | 95

Posted by: Down South | Jan 21 2023 17:48 utc | 91

Taken to it's logical conclusion:

The NATO meeting at Rammstein was all Kabuki.

The Media played along, singing dirges of betrayal. The British and French make grunts of outrage at "German Cowardice" and fecklessness.

While in the shadows logistics chains, already in motion, speed up ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 21 2023 18:07 utc | 96


Ramstein Summit Showed Lack of Unity, Unclear Goals & No Post-War Ukraine Plan, Military Experts Say
SPUTnews ... from the article just posted.
retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, a former analyst for the US Department of Defense.


"The recent meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group and arms dealers, American and European military officers, and the American State Department, Intelligence, and military industrial complex that occurred at Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, is a sign of extreme desperation and inevitable admission of failure by the United States and its allies. It is a last ditch effort of the West as a whole to put on a brave face – or perhaps an insane one – and try and delude themselves into believing that the tides of war are somehow going to shift in Ukraine’s favor," Scott Bennett, a veteran of the 11th Psychological Operations Battalion of the US Army and former State Department counterterrorism analyst, told Sputnik.

The Ramstein gathering brought together more than 50 defense leaders. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claimed that Russia was preparing for a long war and urged his Western peers to urgently provide more weapons to Kiev to ensure its victory.

"Like most wars, this is likely to end at the negotiating table," Stoltenberg said, “but what happens in negotiations is directly linked to what happens on the battlefield, so we need to deliver more weapons to Ukraine now."

The summit came at a time when the Russian military managed to liberate Soledar and a number of other settlements in the Donbass region and kicked off an offensive in the Zaporozhye region. Washington reportedly recommended that Kiev not cling to defending the town of Bakhmut (Artemovsk) in Donbass and instead focus on undertaking a major counteroffensive against advancing Russian forces.

[.] according to retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, a former analyst for the US Department of Defense.

"I think Germany will withstand the increasingly militant and ridiculous [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky, in part because many agree with attempting to resolve rather than escalate the conflict," she told Sputnik. "However, even if a variety of tanks, including German Leopards (which are not state of the art) are shipped in from various countries, the training, maintenance and logistical challenges of quickly coordinating and operating them with battlefield effectiveness is necessarily limited. As hard as it is to believe, even shipments of MBTs to Ukraine at this point constitute more virtue signaling, and of course justification for more defense spending at home."

For his part, Bennett noted that Berlin's cautious stance stems from the fact that Germany has suffered the most from the US-UK sanctions war against Russia. The US security expert suggested that "most likely Germany sees its own population rising up in rejection of the endless Ukraine war and suicide that is occurring within the Germany energy and other sectors of its economy."

"Germany’s businesses are shutting down for lack of heat and energy, and this will result in the collapse of the German government, which may then translate into other similar movements in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom," Bennett noted. "I think we’re on the verge of seeing Germany finally collapse in its support for the American-Ukrainian war against Russia, for Germany has suffered more than any other European nation, with tremendous loss in its energy sector because of the United States' destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline and the shutting down of Russian-German industry because of the lack of energy and the desperation and outrage that is increasing among German citizens, which is also replicating in other parts of Europe."[.]


A matter of getting the tanks in "good to go state" and shipping. Try next year. And if Duda sends tanks without Germany's OK, well that another fracture within NATO. They are on the outs anyway as Poland has demanded US$1.4 trillion war reparations from Germany. Good luck Mr. Duda.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 21 2023 18:22 utc | 97

Posted by: DakotaRog | Jan 21 2023 15:21 utc | 53
Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 21 2023 18:00 utc | 94

Having π (pi) in his name suggests he might teach maths in a junior school.

Posted by: Ranelagh | Jan 21 2023 18:26 utc | 98

i think you meant to type:

Ukraine - Russian Army Activates "Southern" Front

i was going to copy paste the whole article and do that but it's just soooooo long. once again the ukies are addicted to cauldrons and the mobilization of the army is being...mobilized. all pretty predictable but it will be interesting to see whether they go further "north" or continue "south" toward odessa.

in the meantime i wonder how many "accidental" helicopter crashes it would take to get the kiev "government" down to a dozen lunatics or so.

Posted by: the pair | Jan 21 2023 18:30 utc | 99

"yes... a war of attrition... i don't know if you saw that article posted by someone a few threads ago that i and outraged reposted.. that was a key point of the article as i saw it.. and the west doesn't get it either.. thanks for your comments!"

Posted by: james | Jan 21 2023 16:52 utc | 72,74

Thanks, james, for reposting the article! Here are points I gained from finally going to your link:

...The framework you need is essentially a formidably intellectual one (though obviously it incorporates practical limitations) and I would be very surprised if that intellectual framework is taught anywhere in the West anymore. Certainly, I have found that trying to explain to others what experts much more informed than I am think is happening, is essentially impossible. After I point out that this is an attrition war, and that control of territory as such doesn’t mean very much, my interlocutor will say “yes but you can’t deny the Ukrainians are winning because they recaptured this or that territory.”...

and:

...victory in war is a large scale thing, and involves victory conditions, which often go far beyond battlefield success.

[my bolds]

I see your "attrition" point, and that it is the point of most of the article also. I just would like to suggest that the quotes I have bolded point to far greater "intellectual attributes" than simply military ones in the present 'non sports game' situation. Attrition is certainly something obvious, but it isn't the entire story.

The one comment below the article I was able to access gives, I think, many additional conditions for success - enumarated in the 'Powell Doctrine' - (a doctrine not followed, the author points out, when Powell became Secretary of State.)

I'd call ours more simply 'the b doctrine' encompassing as it does all the national subtleties of strengths and weaknesses b and others have been chronicling on this forum. It's a big club, and all of us are in it.


Posted by: juliania | Jan 21 2023 18:36 utc | 100

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